Updated: 3 Oct 2018
Next update: 4 May 2022

The question on height was: ’What is your height?’ The question on weight was: ‘What is your weight, measured when wearing light clothing?’ The actual calculation of BMI is weight divided by height squared. Body mass index is the most commonly used method of determining the degree of obesity. Body mass index = 30 kg/m² is the internationally approved limit for obesity.

Data material:

The postal survey Health Behaviour and Health among the Finnish Adult Population (AVTK) was conducted yearly from 1978 to 2014 (www.thl.fi/avtk).

The Regional Health and Welfare Study (ATH) yearly since 2012. (www.thl.fi/ath)


Share of obese people in the population aged 20 to 64 has remained at the same level in recent years

The percentage of those with a body mass index of 30 kg/m² or more, calculated on the basis of self-reported weight and height, has increased continuously since the late 1980s. At the beginning of the 2010s, the percentage of obese people was over double that at the beginning of the 1980s. In the 2010s, the share of obese people has still grown a little, but during the two last research years, the growth in the share of obese people seems to have stopped at least for men.

The percentage of obese women was slightly lower than that of men, on average, in the 1990s and early 2000s, but from 2004, differences between the sexes have been minor in this regard. In 2018, the share of obese persons among those aged 20 to 64 was 21 per cent for men and 20 per cent for women.

When interpreting the results, it should be noted that these are results based on survey data which always involve random variation due to non-response, for example.